The other day a commenter on Vox Popoli asked, “I know a lot of what millennials were taught is bullsh*t. I wanna know how to fix it. What do we do?” This answer is geared towards millennials, but is applicable to any man who is just drifting.
Overwhelmingly the response to the question was, “Get to work”. I completely agree. I understand that things are tough in the job market, I know people want people with experience, I understand that life is not fair. Get. To. Work.
Millennials were screwed by their own parents by not telling them it is a bad idea to take on thousands in student loan debt, and indirectly by the economy crashing in 2008 when so many were just seriously entering the work force. Now that that’s out of the way the only way to fix this mess is for you to go to work and make money. Many Millennials are approaching 30 and have no goals, no career plan, and no future besides drifting around.
How do you do it? Show up to work on time and you’ll do better than most of your peers. Stop complaining all of the time about work, and how you are underpaid and need to be promoted. Don’t look for ways to take off or constantly ask off from work. Be willing to at least try to learn everything even if you fail at it. Above all, stop acting like a spoiled teenager who needs to be coddled, hand-held, and carefully caressed throughout your workday or you will have a temper tantrum on the carpet. You are valuable to a company so long as you help them reach their financial goals, not because you are a special, creative snowflake.
How do you get a job, or a better job? In today’s economy there are two ways: 1) you have to show that you can produce revenue for the company, 2) you have to show that you can save the company more money by hiring you than the next person. You need to make this clear on your resume and any interview you have. Then at the interview you need to have a 60 day plan to show you actually thought about what you are going to do. Granted, this doesn’t apply for low paying retail jobs and the like, but if you want one of those jobs which might turn into a career or you can retire on the income if you do it right, it applies.
I still can’t find any good work, what am I going to do? Move. Look at a place where you can make money which in the USA are a few states which are doing well. Since you are in your 20s and likely don’t have wife and kids moving won’t be too bad. Strike out and make a new life for yourself. You’ll make new friends and have new adventures. Don’t want to move? Then look for the most hated jobs with the highest pay you can find.
So many things you think you will be doing when you are young you won't be doing when you are older in regards to career and work. Nobody when young says, "I want to go to work at 5:00 AM in the bitter cold, work on welding pipes for 8-10 hours and then collapse back in bed in exhaustion, not get to go out with my friends again." Everyone wants to be a doctor, lawyer, or something "creative". Ever thought about why those guys who will do those shitty jobs get paid more than the worker at Best Buy, or the guy who makes them coffee every morning as he's commuting to work?
There’s no way to sugarcoat this about it being easy. It isn’t. It’s really hard, exhausting at times and can be extremely stressful as well. But if you can find good work and stick it out for a while it will get easier. At the very least you will pay off your debts, get to save money and then move on to something else better when the opportunity arises, but if you just drift around and complain nothing will get better. You want a girlfriend, you want a nicer car, you want a better place to live? Get to work and earn it.
One final word on this. When I was younger I actually took this advice above and worked my ass off in terrible shifts and some pretty awful jobs with terrible bosses. The one thing I didn’t do well is take care of myself. I didn’t get enough sleep, good food, or exercise and eventually I paid for it. You can’t go down this path and not take care of yourself. After working a 10-12 hours shift and you are dog tired going out with your friends for a beer rather than catching up on sleep and taking it easy will eventually cause you to physically break down. The good news is that in your 20s you can work 50 hour work weeks without much trouble and put in the occasional 60 hour week so long as you get rest. So take care of yourself, but get to work.